Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Advisory Council


Ugo Anidi writes picture books, early chapter books and middle grade with a Nigerian flavour. She serves as the Assistant International Advisor – Administrative and the Regional Advisor for Nigeria. She reviews books on her blog where she also teaches a course on writing for children.
In her ‘other’ life, she is a lecturer in law at the University of Nigeria.
Bonnie Bader is the former Associate Publisher of Frederick Warne, where she oversaw the Peter Rabbit and Spot publishing programs, as well as the former Editor-in-Chief of Penguin Young Readers/Early Readers. She is currently the SCBWI Publishing Advisor.
Natascha Biebow’s favorite crayon color is periwinkle blue because it makes her heart sing. She loves to draw and make stuff, just like the inventor of the Crayola crayons. She lives in London, where she writes, edits, coaches and mentors children’s book authors and illustrators at Blue Elephant Storyshaping, and is the long-time Regional Advisor of SCBWI British Isles. In 2018, she was awarded an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for her services to children’s writers and illustrators. The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons (illustrated by Steven Salerno) is the winner of the Irma Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, voted for by children, and a NSTA Best STEM book and JLG Gold Selection. She loves true stories and is currently working on more nonfiction picture books, a chapter book series and a novel. More about Natascha at her website.
Priscilla Burris is an author/illustrator, gratefully serving the SCBWI as the Illustrator Programs Consultant as well as Portfolio Showcase Director for the winter and summer International Conferences.  Priscilla is the illustrator for the Heidi Heckelbeck, Henry Heckelbeck, and the Humphrey’s Tiny Tales series. Recent books include Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Michael Genhart, 1-2-3 My Feelings and Me by Goldie Millar and Lisa Berger, Natsumi! by Susan Lendroth, and Hello School!, which she wrote and illustrated.
Dana Carey is an author/illustrator. She has served SCBWI France as Assistant Regional Advisor organizing webinars, writer/illustrator retreats, regional conferences, and workshops. As International Illustrator Coordinator, she advises SCBWI Illustrator Coordinators in regions outside the US. Dana also assists in the organization of the Portfolio Showcases for the International Winter and Summer Conferences. Each month, Dana interviews illustrators for The Postcard Post for the Sub It Club, a support group for authors and illustrators in the submission process.
Christopher Cheng‘s most recent publication (created from his dining room table) include the critically acclaimed picture book he wrote for his wife Bear and Rat, published as Will we Always Hold Hands? in the USA (illus. Stephen Michael King), Old Fellow (illus. Liz Anelli),  One Tree (illus. Bruce Whatley), Wombat (illus. Liz Duthie), and New Year Surprise! (illus. Di Wu) and also the libretto for the children’s musical Pa’s Christmas Star. He wrote the storyline for a twenty-six part television animation series and was awarded the Lady Cutler Award for Services to Children’s Literature. He is an ambassador for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature as well as the federal government’s Australia Day Ambassador programme. He dwells with his wife in an inner-city terrace in Sydney Australia. More about Christopher at his website
Lesa Cline-Ransome has written numerous picture book biographies on notable figures such as Frederick Douglass, Helen Keller, Satchel Paige and Louis Armstrong, in addition to chapter books, Young adult and the Finding Langston middle grade trilogy.  Her books have garnered honors including A Jane Addams Honor, A Christopher Award, an NAACP Image Award, Kirkus Best Book,  A Kids’ Indie Next Pick and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet received a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration.  Finding Langston, was the 2019 winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor.  Lesa is the host of the KidLit TV show Past Present. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband, and frequent collaborator, James Ransome. Visit her at her website
Bruce Coville is the author of over a hundred books for children and young adults, including My Teacher is an Alien, Into the Land of the Unicorns, and Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher. His books have appeared in a dozen languages, and have won children’s choice awards in numerous states, including twice in California. Bruce is also the founder of Full Cast Audio, an audiobook publishing company devoted to producing full cast, unabridged recordings for family listening.
Pat Cummings is the author/illustrator of over forty books for young readers.  She also edited the award-winning series, Talking With Artists, which profiles prominent children’s book illustrators. Along with her classes at Parsons and Pratt, her annual Children’s Book Boot Camp brings writers and illustrators together with top editors, art directors and agents and have helped launch a growing number of notable picture book illustrator and authors. Pat serves on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund, The Authors Guild Foundation, The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and as the Chair of the Founders Award Jury for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Show. She is also a member of The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Pat’s latest books include her debut middle grade novel, Trace, from HarperCollins and Where is Mommy?, a picture book from Holiday House.
Matt de la Peña is the #1 New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of seven young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy and We Were Here) and six picture books (including Milo Imagines the World and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship. In 2019 Matt was awarded an honorary doctorate from UOP.
Emma D Dryden is co-author of the award-winning picture book, What Does it Mean To be an Entrepreneur? (Sourcebooks) and founder of drydenbks, a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm. Emma’s publishing career began at Viking and Random House, and eventually became VP, Publisher of McElderry Books and Atheneum (Simon & Schuster). She’s edited over 1,000 books for children and young readers, many of which have won prestigious awards and appeared on national and international bestseller lists. Under the drydenbks banner she edits children’s books; consults with and coaches authors, illustrators, agents, and foreign publishers; is a creative consultant for children’s eBook, app, and indy publishers; is a writing instructor and workshop speaker; and keeps a blog called “Our Stories, Ourselves” which explores the links between living our lives and creating our art. Visit Emma at her website.  
 TeMika Grooms TeMika Grooms is SCBWI’s U.S. Illustrator Coordinator. She has served as the Illustrator Coordinator for the Southern Breeze Region and as the Regional Team Liaison on the SCBWI Equity and Inclusion Committee. Her most recent illustrated non-fiction book, “Save the Crash-test Dummies” by Jennifer Swanson, was released by Peachtree Publishing in 2019 and she was selected as an Illustration Mentee in the 2021 We Need Diverse Books Program.  Learn more about her work at her website
Ellen Hopkins is a former journalist, poet, and the award-winning author of 20 nonfiction books for children, thirteen NY Times bestselling young adult novels, and four novels for adult readers. Her debut middle grade novel, Closer to Nowhere, publishes October 2020, and she’s excited to navigate new waters. Ellen lives with her extended family, one German shepherd, a rescue cat, and too many fish to mention, near Carson City NV. 
Arthur Levine is the President and Editor-in-Chief of Levine Querido, a vibrant new independent publisher distributed by Chronicle Books. Levine Querido is born of a fervent mission to give voice to a uniquely talented, exceptionally diverse group of authors and artists, a career-long passion of its founder. Launched in August 2020, LQ has been proud to publish award-winning books by Daniel Nayeri (Printz Medal), Darcie Little Badger (Newbery Honor, AIYLA Honor, Nebula Award), Donna Barba Higuera (Newbery Medal, Pura Belpré Medal), Eric Gansworth (Printz Honor, AIYLA Medal, National Book Award Long list), Sigal Samuel/Vali Mintzi (AJL honor book) and many others. Visit LQ at
Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (a division of Hachette Book Group) where she has worked since 1999. She edits children’s books for all ages, from picture books to young adult. She has edited such books as A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Trouble Maker by John Cho, The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, Mirror Girls by Kelly McWilliams, Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed, Strange Dreamer by Lani Taylor and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. She Tweets and is on Instagram. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two cats, Moana and Sweetpea.
Laurent Linn, Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, collaborates on picture books, middle grade, and teen novels with both celebrated and new illustrators such as Rosemary Wells, Bryan Collier, John Parra, Vashti Harrison, and Raúl Colón. He is also the author/illustrator of the critically acclaimed young adult novel, Draw the Line. In addition to being on the SCBWI Advisory Council, Laurent, is the Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Laurent began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, creating characters for productions including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films, and eventually becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. Find Laurent at: his website and on Instagram & FB: Laurent Linn
Elisabeth Norton writes poetry, picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels in verse. Her poetry for young readers has been included in several anthologies, including Things We Eat (Pomelo Books, 2022) and Imperfect II: poems about perspective: an anthology for middle schoolers (History House Publishers, 2022). You can find out more about her writing on her website.

Elisabeth previously served as the regional advisor for the Swiss chapter of SCBWI and is now the Assistant International Advisor (Outreach), assisting the International Regional Advisor Coordinator, Melanie Rook-Welfing to provide support for the international regions of SCBWI. In addition, she acts as Regional Advisor for the International Central Region, a virtual region for members of SCBWI living in countries without a local chapter.

Susan Patron specialized in Children’s Services for 35 years at the Los Angeles Public Library before retiring in 2007, the same year The Higher Power of Lucky was awarded the John Newbery Medal. Translated into a dozen languages, the novel is the first in the Hard Pan Trilogy. Patron and her husband René divide their time between Los Angeles and a cabin in the high desert of the Eastern Sierras.
Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is renowned for giving voice to underrepresented history and those who experienced it. Ruta credits SCBWI for launching her career.
  Melanie Rook Welfing serves as the International Regional Advisor Coordinator for SCBWI. Before that, she was the Regional Advisor for Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) for five years. She writes early readers, chapter books, and graphic novels. In addition, she writes ELL and other curriculum for the educational market. Her stories have also appeared in many children’s magazines, including Highlights and Highlights Hello.


Cecilia Yung is Executive Art Director and Vice President at Penguin Random House where she oversees illustration and design for two imprints, G. P. Putnam’s Sons and Nancy Paulsen Books. She is fortunate to have worked with major illustrators creating children’s books, but the highlight of her work is to discover and develop new talent.
Paul O Zelinsky, creator of the now-classic interactive book The Wheels on the Bus, received the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, as well as the Carle Honor for Illustration. Among his other recognitions are one Caldecott Medal (for his retelling of Rapunzel) and three Caldecott Honors. He is known for a breadth and variety of artistic styles, from Beverly Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw to Kelly Bingham’s Z is for Moose, to the Toys series of books with Emily Jenkins. All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, also a collaboration with Jenkins, was given the Sydney Taylor Award in 2019. In addition to his activities with SCBWI, Paul serves as co-chair of PEN America’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Committee. 

Last updated: January 2023.